Alabama emerged from the crowded SEC West to make the trip to Atlanta, while Missouri rebounded from an early season loss to Indiana to win the SEC East.
Alabama: 11-1 (7-1 SEC)
Missouri: 10-2 (7-1 SEC)
The Crimson Tide head to Atlanta with everything to lose. They're No. 1 in the country (the fifth time the SEC has had a top-ranked team in their title game in the last seven years), and a win will give them the top seed in the inaugural College Football Playoff.
Quarterback Blake Sims has played well for most of the season, but Nick Saban's squad still relies on its defense and the running game. Oh yeah, and they have that guy named Amari Cooper who will be the first wide receiver to be a Heisman finalist since Larry Fitzgerald.
The Tigers won the SEC East for the second straight time - not bad for a team that's only been in the conference for three years.
However, Mizzou made it this year by playing an easy schedule. They only played one team that finished the season ranked, and they lost that game 34-0 to Georgia.
Now they're one of hottest teams in the nation and are riding a six-game winning streak, thanks to the play of quarterback Maty Mauk (2,279 passing yards, 22 touchdowns).
What to watch for:
Mizzou is going to come out and play their best game of the season, as they're looking to prove that they not only belong among the top teams in the country, but that they're belong as a power in the SEC East.
Many have dismissed the Tigers' early success in the conference as the SEC East being incredibly weak and they've avoided playing the best teams from the SEC West, and Missouri wants to prove those doubters wrong.
Alabama has to come out and match that intensity, because if the Tide come out timid and play "not to lose" instead of to win, they'll give the Tigers a chance.
Prediction: Alabama wins 34-16
Nick Saban will have his team ready to play as he always does, and the Tide just have so much more talent than Mizzou. The Tigers have had a tough time dealing with physical defenses all year, and Alabama's is one of the most physical in the country. The Crimson Tide should control this one from the start.Back to the NCAA Newsfeed